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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Time to smear the latest Bush critic

Yesterday, Ray McGovern -- an American citizen with a 27-year career as a CIA analyst behind him -- stood up at a speech given by Donald Rumsfeld and aggressively questioned Rumsfeld on various statements Rumsfeld made regarding Iraq. McGovern specifically questioned Rumsfeld about this claim made in March, 2003: "We know where [the WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." We all know what happens to people, including those with a long history of government service, who publicly embarrass the administration - it's time for a nice heap of character smear.

Today, Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds praises and links to an investigation into McGovern's "background" which was undertaken by The Gateway Pundit. Reynolds asks: "Why don't the Big Media do this kind of thing?"

What is it that Gateway Pundit's investigation revealed about McGovern that prompted Reynolds' admiration, along with his lament that "Big Media" failed to issue a similar report? To begin with, in the headlines of Gateway Pundit's post, we learn right away that McGovern is a"nutjob," as in: "Nutjob Ray McGovern Heckles Rummy."

But that revelation is just the beginning. Gateway Pundit also informs us that McGovern is a "certified nutcase" who "has a trail of lunatic behavior a mile long." G.P. also uncovered evidence conclusively demonstrating that McGovern is a "moonbat." I agree with Instapundit- what right does the MSM have to keep this important information from us?

What is the evidence which supports these substantive allegations? G.P. first cites a website - something called PrisonPlanet.com - with the headline: "Government May be Manufacturing Fake Terrorism," presumably to imply that McGovern believes that Islamic terrorist attacks are perpetrated by the U.S. Government. In fact, the website merely quotes McGovern as accusing the administration and its supporters of manipulating terrorist threats in order to maximize their power and urging skepticism about government statements in the event that another terrorist attack prompts efforts to impose martial law.

McGovern has also said that the desire for control over oil and the desire by some "zionists" to benefit Israel were factors influencing the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- views which apparently makes him both crazy and anti-Semitic. Moreover, McGovern travelled to Iraq as part of what G.P. calls a "hate America freakshow" that included "pedophile" (not to mention former United States Marine officer and aide to General Norman Schwarzkopf) Scott Ritter, whose pre-war claims about Iraq (in stark contrast to Instapundit, among others) proved to be entirely true. G.P. also uncovered the highly incriminating fact that McGovern (like 60% of Americans) also opposes the war in Iraq and, as a result, has attended various anti-war events. G.P. also links to "Allahpundit" over at Hot Air, Michelle Malkin's new venture, where the same "charges" are repeated.

So that's the sum of the evidence that the career CIA analyst McGovern is a "nutjob," a "moonbat," and a "certified nutcase" with a "trail of lunatic behavior a mile long" - he opposes the war in Iraq, associates with former U.S. Marine Scott Ritter, and believes that oil and Israel were factors in why we invaded Iraq. All of that leads Instapundit to lament that "Big Media" doesn't do more of this -- namely, smear people with playground epithets and accuse them of being mentally ill if they engage in anti-war activism or if they question the President.

Neither Instapudnit, Gateway Pundit, nor Allah address the substantive point -- that Donald Rumsfeld told the country that he "knows" where WMDs are, and when confronted by McGovern with that false statement, denied that he made it. That fact is, of course, nowhere near as important as engaging in a vicious and frenzied character smear of yet another American who spent his entire career in service to his country and yet has his patriotism and mental health called into question by virtue of standing up to the administration. McGovern is in good company -- along with Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Joe Wilson, Howard Dean, Al Gore, the war critic Generals, and all of the other corrupt, mentally ill and/or unpatriotic Americans whose motives and/or mental health have been similarly maligned after standing up to the administration.

That's the ugly modus operandi of so many Bush defenders. When an American stands up and aggressively criticizes the President and his policies, they immediately insist that there must be something severely wrong with their character or mental state. Ignoring the criticism itself, they try to maul the messenger. Ray McGovern should wear those smears, coming from these particular circles, as a badge of honor.

UPDATE: Needless to say, LGF has joined in the fun, informing us that McGovern is a "radical leftist, Jew hating creep." Aside from reflecting the typical rage that gets unleashed towards Bush critics, in terms of assessing the validity of McGovern's accusations against Rumsfeld, how does any of this smearing matter?

Not only is a lopsided majority of Americans (like McGovern) against the war in Iraq, they also believe (like McGovern) that the Bush administration "intentionally misled" the country into war. The fringe, radical, discredited views on the war are not those expressed by McGovern, but are those expressed by Instadpundit, LGF and company. And yet those same extremists continue to classify people who oppose the war as "radicals"and "leftists" because they apparently still believe -- even in the face of all that evidence to the contrary -- that it is their pro-war views which represent what mainstream Americans believe.

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